Contract workers hired by the State of California carry giant sequoia seedlings to be planted on a hillside in Mountain Home State Demonstration Forest outside Springville, Calif., on April 26, 2022. (Carlos Avila Gonzalez / San Francisco Chronicle via AP, File)

Destructive fires in recent years that burned too hot for forests to quickly regrow have far outpaced the government’s capacity to replant trees. That’s created a backlog of 4.1 million acres in need of replanting, officials said.

A participant in the Nature Conservancy’s Youth Environmental Thinkers program is pictured. (WTTW News)

As brutal heat waves sweep across the globe, calls to address the effects of climate change have become increasingly urgent. But in addition to large-scale policy efforts, making lasting change often starts with individuals.

Fairy house, Humboldt Park. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of its natural areas, the Chicago Park District, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy of Illinois, has installed 20 fairy houses in parks across the city. Here’s where to find them.

Along Wolf Lake on Chicago’s Southeast Side lies the only Illinois state park within city limits, where visitors can find fishing spots, biking trails – and invasive species.

(Henry T. McLin / Flickr)

The migratory birds are starting to nest in the area, but their nests don't look like those found in trees. That's because purple martins, which spend their winters in South America, now rely almost entirely on man-made nests when they arrive each spring. 

Bison are once again roaming Illinois prairies. It's been more than 175 years since the last wild bison died in this state, but as of October they are back, thanks to The Nature Conservancy project in western Illinois called Nachusa Grasslands.

A bison conservation herd makes its way to Illinois to help protect the landscape.